Ralph, the youngest of 5 children was born in Derby in 1955 and spent his early years in the family home in Alfreton, Derbyshire attending the Mortimer Wilson Secondary Modern School in Alfreton. He was also a member of the Derbyshire Army Cadet Force (The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment)) attaining the rank of Cadet Lance Corporal!
In 1970 he left school and was employed as a trainee welder with a local company but soon decided that the Army was his preferred career choice. In April 1971 he arrived in Aldershot to join the Junior Parachute Company (JPC), after passing P Company and the Basic Parachute Course at RAF Abingdon with 384 Platoon he was posted to the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (3 PARA) in March 1973 serving with C, SP and HQ Companies.
During this period he also gained his French, German and American Parachute Wings. In 1982, 3 PARA was part of the 3 Commando Brigade Battle Group element of the Task Force despatched to liberate the Falkland Islands from Argentine Forces.
In 1985 he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA) as Orderly Room Sergeant and later became the Chief Clerk. Between 1990 and his retirement on the 20 September 1995 he also served at the School of Infantry (Support Weapons Wing) in Netheravon, Headquarters 1st Artillery Brigade (1 Arty Bde) in Dortmund and finally in the Regimental Headquarters, The Parachute Regiment (RHQ PARA) in Aldershot.
He served a total of 24 years 155 days in The Parachute Regiment, attaining the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) and saw service in many countries around the world including Germany (BAOR), Denmark, Malaya, Singapore, Italy, France, Sudan, Canada, Kenya, Belize (2 Tours), Northern Ireland (4 Tours) & Falkland Islands (Op Corporate).
On the 24 September 1995 he enlisted as Non Regular Permanent Staff (NRPS) in the rank of WO2 with the 10th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (Volunteers) (10 PARA(V)) in London and served with them until their disbandment on the 30 June 1999.
He then went on to serve with 38th Signal Regiment (Volunteers) (38 Sig Regt (V)) in Sheffield until his discharge, at his own request, on the 30 April 2004 having served a total of 8 years 220 days with the Territorial Army (NRPS). He now lives in France.
By Ralph 'Nobby' ClarkeRead More